Sunday, 18 March 2012

Archimides Archimedes & Phythagoras of Samos Pythagoras

Archimedes Archimedes is universally acknowledged to be the greatest of ancient mathematicians. He studied at Euclid's school, but his work was far superior than the works of Euclid. Archimedes made advances in number theory, algebra, and analysis, but is most renowned for his many theorems of plane and solid geometry. He was first to prove Heron's formula for the area of a triangle. He found a method to trisect an arbitrary angle. Although it doesn't survive in his writings, Pappus reports that he discovered the Archimedean solids. One of his most remarkable and famous geometric results was determining the area of a parabolic section, for which he offered two independent proofs, one using his Principle of the Lever, the other using a geometric series. 

Archimedes’s methods anticipated both the integral and differential calculus. He was similar to Newton in that he used his (non-rigorous) calculus to discover results, but then devised rigorous geometric proofs for publication. His original achievements in physics include the principles of leverage, the first law of hydrostatics, and inventions like the compound pulley, the hydraulic screw, and war machines. His books include Floating Bodies, Spirals, The Sand Reckoner, Measurement of the Circle, and Sphere and Cylinder. 

Archimedes proved that the volume of a sphere is two-thirds the volume of a cylinder. He requested that a representation of such a sphere and cylinder be inscribed on his tomb. Archimedes discovered formulae for the volume and surface area of a sphere, and may even have been first to notice and prove the simple relationship between a circle’s circumference and area. For these reasons, π is often called Archimedes’ constant. 

 By Pui Ling :) 

Pythagoras Of Samos Pythagoras, who is sometimes called the "First Philosopher," studied under Anaximander, Egyptians, Babylonians, and the mystic Pherekydes (from whom Pythagoras acquired a belief in reincarnation); he became the most influential of early Greek mathematicians. He is credited with being first to use axioms and deductive proofs, so his influence on Plato and Euclid may be enormous. He and his students (the "Pythagoreans") were ascetic mystics for whom mathematics was partly a spiritual tool. (Some occultists treat Pythagoras as a wizard and founding mystic philosopher.)

Pythagoras was very interested in astronomy and recognized that the Earth was a globe similar to the other planets. He believed thinking was located in the brain rather than heart. The words "philosophy" and "mathematics" are said to have been coined by Pythagoras. Despite Pythagoras' historical importance I may have ranked him too high: many results of the Pythagoreans were due to his students; none of their writings survive; and what is known is reported second-hand, and possibly exaggerated, by Plato and others. His students included Hippasus of Metapontum, perhaps the famous physician Alcmaeon, Milo of Croton, and Croton's daughter Theano (who may have been Pythagoras's wife). The term "Pythagorean" was also adopted by many disciples who lived later; these disciples include Philolaus of Croton, the natural philosopher Empedocles, and several other famous Greeks.

Pythagoras' successor was apparently Theano herself: the Pythagoreans were one of the few ancient schools to practice gender equality. Pythagoras discovered that harmonious intervals in music are based on simple rational numbers. This led to a fascination with integers and mystic numerology; he is sometimes called the "Father of Numbers" and once said "Number rules the universe." (About the mathematical basis of music, Leibniz later wrote, "Music is the pleasure the human soul experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting." Other mathematicians who investigated the arithmetic of music included Huygens, Euler and Simon Stevin.) The Pythagorean Theorem was known long before Pythagoras, but he is often credited with the first proof. (Apastambha proved it in India at about the same time, and some theorize that Pythagoras journeyed to India and learned of the proof there.)

He also discovered the simple parametric form of Pythagorean triplets (xx-yy, 2xy, xx+yy). Other discoveries of the Pythagorean school include the concepts of perfect and amicable numbers, polygonal numbers, golden ratio (attributed to Theano), the five regular solids (attributed to Pythagoras himself), and irrational numbers (attributed to Hippasus). It is said that the discovery of irrational numbers upset the Pythagoreans so much they tossed Hippasus into the ocean! (Another version has Hippasus banished for revealing the secret for constructing the sphere which circumscribes a dodecahedron.)

 By Xi En :)

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